Never the Twain Shall Meet

Never the Twain Shall Meet

To paraphrase Mark Twain: No supplements are safe when Congress is in session.

And that’s even true of a lame duck Congress like the one that’s now poised to sneak through a bill that can only have a negative impact on dietary supplement consumers.

Senate Bill 3546 is titled Dietary Supplement and Non-Prescription Drug Consumer Protection Act. But as any Congress watcher knows, the titles of bills are often quite deceptive. Consumer protection? If driving up supplement prices and narrowing the field of supplement choices is “protection,” then, sure, this is a consumer protection act.

In a nutshell, S.3546 is intended to amend the Food, Drug and cosmetic Act, and would require supplement makers and manufacturers of over the counter drugs to report serious adverse events linked to the use of their products.

To begin with, this change would be yet another step toward regulating supplements the same way pharmaceuticals are regulated. In other words: A win for drug companies.

Secondly, S.3546 would create yet another level of bureaucracy and red tape, and the accompanying expenses would put additional financial burdens on supplement makers. This might drive some smaller companies out of business, while larger companies might be forced to increase prices to cover the additional expense.

What’s most annoying about this bill is that it’s completely unnecessary, because without it, consumers and their doctors will simply do what they already do: Report adverse events directly to the FDA.

I hope you’ll take a moment to contact your state senators and ask them to vote NO on S.3546. You can find easy access to e-mail addresses and phone numbers for all senators and representatives on the web site Contacting the Congress, which you’ll find here: